Fresh Labour row as Jeremy Corbyn accused of comparing Israeli actions to Nazi occupation of Europe

Posted On: 
10th August 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of comparing the occupation of the West Bank to the suffering of those persecuted under Nazi rule in a speech before he became Labour leader.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing fresh scrutiny over past comments
Credit: 
PA Images

He was filmed telling an audience in 2013 that many would “recognise” the treatment of Palestinians by Israel in the context of “many people in Europe who suffered occupation through the Second World War”.

Campaigners hit out at his "appalling past comments", however Labour has rejected the claim that Mr Corbyn was comparing the two.

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The latest development in the anti-Semitism row within Labour comes just days after the left-winger was criticised after it emerged he once said the BBC had a bias towards saying “Israel has a right to exist”.

In the latest footage to be unearthed, he said: “Israel has nuclear weapons, the world’s fourth biggest arms exporter, unlimited military budget provided by the United States and the Palestinian people are, generally speaking, very poor.

“In the case of Gaza, virtually imprisoned within that very small area and facing the environmental disaster and catastrophe and in West Bank under occupation of the very sort that we would recognise, well many people in Europe who suffered occupation through the Second World War with the endless road blocks, imprisonment, irrational behaviour of the military and police.”

In the same speech, Mr Corbyn claimed that in 1948 “the UN decided that Israel must exist” and could “hardly be surprised at the disaster that presented for millions of Palestinian people” in the years that followed.

Labour Friends of Israel said Mr Corbyn's opposition to adopting the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism as part of the new Labour code of conduct was “overwhelmingly driven” by his own past statements.

Director Jennifer Gerber said: “Earlier this week, we discovered that Jeremy Corbyn engaged in wild conspiracy theories questioning Israel's right to exist.

“Today, it is revealed he drew comparisons between conditions in the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe.

“It is increasingly clear that his opposition to adopting the IHRA definition in full appears to be overwhelmingly driven by his own appalling past statements.

“The Labour party's once proud record on fighting racism and the protection of British Jews from antisemitism is being sacrificed to protect Jeremy Corbyn's reputation.”

A Labour party spokesperson said: “Jeremy was describing conditions of occupations in World War Two in Europe, of which there are multiple examples, not comparing the Israeli State to Nazis.”

Elsewhere in the video, Mr Corbyn said UK education systems had to teach the Middle East in a “more accurate and more balanced way” to show “the way in which the Palestinian people have so demonised and so terrorised and so abused from the First World War onwards”.